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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Apr 12, 2010 9:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Fusion v. Dead

The Dead, even at their best, didn't approach the harmonic sophistication of Miles' electric bands, particularly the 1969-1975 era. Check out Live-Evil for proof.

That said, most jazz fusion is really, really bad. Basically, a bunch of well-trained jazz musicians with loads of theory in their head approached rock music like it was kid stuff, thinking they could surely outdo lesser musicians. The result is generally not a credit to either rock or jazz. This is true even of musicians like John McLaughlin and Joe Zawinul, who did great work with Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderly earlier in their careers.

The fusion movement was also the point where jazz divested itself of its blues core. The Dead never lost that core, and indeed were always highly sensitive to the roots of their music, no matter how far out there they got.

So, yeah, I'd say the Dead were not at the level of Miles Davis, but -- particularly in '73-'74 -- were better than 90 percent of the jazz fusion going around at the time.